The Power of Love with Dunkin’ CMO Tony Weisman

August 6, 2019

By Emma Phipps


Few brands have customers quite as loyal as Dunkin'. But building and maintaining that loyalty requires a world-class marketing team. Tony Weisman, CMO at Dunkin' U.S., shares how the company fosters brand love and gives a preview of his session at the 2019 ANA Masters of Marketing Week in the following Q&A.


Q. What does it take to make sure a major rebrand like yours goes smoothly and is well-received?

It starts with understanding what consumers love about your brand. In our case it included a light, optimistic and joyful perspective on the world, after all consumers look to us to get their day off to a good start. There are also expressions of our brand that consumers have come to know and love: our bright pink and orange colors, our playful Frankfurter font, our fresh and familiar tone, etc.

We took great care to understand and amplify what was essential about Dunkin' from the beginning that continues to be important today.

Dunkin' is a shorter, simpler, more modern version of who we've always been. In fact, we've been saying it for over 10 years with our tagline, "America runs on Dunkin'." Embracing what is valuable in your heritage is essential. There is no mistaking Dunkin', even as we shortened our name and rebranded, thanks to our familiar name, iconic font and signature orange and pink colors. We didn't walk away from our heritage, we simply refreshed it.

Before launching the rebrand, we tested the new Dunkin' logo extensively, including on exterior signage at new and remodeled restaurants across the country that brought to life the new, modern brand experience. We talked with our consumers to get their feedback on the potential rebranding and what Dunkin' meant to them, to make sure we were doing right be them and our brand. We've been very pleased with the consumer response to the rebranding, which has been overwhelmingly positive.


Q. Dunkin' fans are truly diehard. How do you foster and engage with their passion?

Everything we do is with the goal of meeting our guests' needs and distinguishing Dunkin' as the brand best at making their busy, on-the-go lives as easy as possible.

We listen carefully through many channels: social media, in-store feedback, call centers, etc. If they take the time to tell us what's on their minds, we honor that by listening and responding as much as possible.

Our stores and our franchisees are part of the communities. That is why our next generation stores have signage that reads, for example, Brockton Runs on Dunkin'.

Our customers know our crew, our managers and our franchisees by name. They feel connected to our brand because they feel connected to the people who fuel them with great coffee, fast.

We develop innovations for our guests to get that coffee even faster, like our On-the-Go Mobile Ordering through the Dunkin' mobile app, which allows guests to order ahead and speed past the line in-store to pick up their orders. We are continuously improving the app experience to make it as frictionless as possible.

Our Perks loyalty program provides our most frequent guests with rewards they have come to cherish.

We're honored by our die-hard fans and they know we welcome their ideas to make us better.


Q. How can brands be better stewards of their customers' loyalty and love?

Dunkin' is an unpretentious brand, grounded and there for everyone. We are honored by the love our guests express loudly and proudly. It unfolds on our social channels every day. People have a real sense of ownership for our brand, and you see this in the way many of our guests refer to us "Dunkin'," "Dunks," or "Dunkies," as if we're a good friend. To that end, we find it's important for brands to know who their fans are and understand why they're passionate about your brand. It's also important to always be listening to your fans, so you can better meet their needs.

An example of this from Dunkin' was the return of our Irish Crème flavored coffee and espresso this past March. The Irish Crème flavor, a favorite among our fans, hadn't been featured in our restaurants in recent years. Given the groundswell of passion for this flavor among our fans, we decided to bring it back for a limited time this March, and our fans absolutely loved it. Our fans have helped us blaze new trails. As guests' tastes evolve, so should we. Listening is key and our customers' interests helped lead us to launch the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich in Manhattan this summer, as a delicious, 100 percent plant-based meat option on the Dunkin' breakfast sandwich menu.


Q. Can you give us a preview of the tips you'll share at the 2019 Masters of Marketing Week for turning brand love into customer action?

Relationships, whether among people or with brands, can all benefit by embracing the tenets of relationship advice. Your guests are your everything and if you treat them that way, listening, laughing, keeping it fresh, appreciating the little moments, and, no matter what, prioritizing your partner's needs, you will establish a deep bond that pays back in dividends.


Q. What are you looking forward to most about this year's Masters of Marketing Week?

Learning from others how to strengthen brand loyalty in today's disruptor-driven market and seeing some old friends.

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